It’s my birthday today and that means feeling intensely close to my mother. She was hugely into birthdays and made each of ours very special in simple ways.
Mine brought the most delicious walnut coffee cake you could imagine. I considered making one yesterday but decided against because I know it wouldn’t be anything as yummy as hers and also I would be eating it all myself as the men in my life aren’t into that type of cake at all.
Birthdays, to me, are just as much about the mother as the baby and I feel a bit bad about leaving fathers out of this symbiotic relationship but, to me, they aren’t quite as connected to it.
Yesterday, I was out walking and I felt a wave of wonder about how Mother must have been feeling all those years ago just 7 hours or so before my arrival. For a fleeting moment, I felt like I was in her shoes. It was very comforting and I knew she’d have loved the Autumn colours that were enveloping ‘us.’
Birthdays aren’t about big fancy parties for me, they never were. Rather they are about soaking up October with its blaze of colour and stunning light.
They are also about memories of birthdays at different stages of life and about moments that defined them, like getting one of my beloved dogs (1972); getting my very own portable black and white television (1977); being a mother for the first time (1995); that last birthday before Mother died when she threw a surprise lparty for me (2008); this birthday getting such a greeting from our three excited dogs before anyone else has got up. It may be the Pandemic birthday but I intend to build lots of memories and among other things dance to fellow October 18th birthday person – Chuck Berry and read some of Yeats’ poetry, especially The Wild Swans at Coole, do a little abstract painting to capture the day and have a chat with my sibs who know exactly what special birthdays mean in our family, thanks to Mother’s love.